Trial delayed in chase, injury wreck

Antonio S. Contreras faces a variety of charges in connection with a May 13 pursuit.

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WALLA WALLA -- The trial of a man accused of driving a stolen pickup involved in a vehicle chase with law enforcement last spring and injuring his passenger in a resulting crash has been postponed in Walla Walla County Superior Court.

Antonio S. Contreras, 26, now is scheduled to face a jury starting Aug. 21. The proceedings had been set for July 16.

Contreras has pleaded innocent to seven charges. They include possession of a stolen motor vehicle, attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle, vehicular assault, possessing methamphetamine, using drug paraphernalia, third-degree driving while license suspended and obstructing a law enforcement officer.

Officials said a College Place police officer saw the 1994 Ford Ranger about 1 p.m. on May 13 in the area of College Avenue and 13th Street. After confirming the vehicle was stolen, the officer pursued the pickup, seeing the driver run a stop sign and drive on the wrong side of the road, according to a Sheriff's Office report filed in court.

Speeds were clocked at up to about 70 mph before the pickup crashed on Stateline and Rainville roads and rolled over, officials said.

Passenger Katie A. Sargent -- also known as Katie A. Waite -- was partially ejected and suffered possible internal injuries. She was taken by ambulance to Providence St. Mary Medical Center, but reportedly walked out of the emergency room while being treated.

Contreras, who had allegedly run east from the scene of the crash, was located by authorities and taken to Walla Walla General Hospital, where he was treated and then booked into the County Jail.

Officials also said they located suspected methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia outside of the pickup, Contreras was uncooperative and his driver's license had been suspended.

Terry McConn can be reached at terrymcconn@wwub.com or 526-8319.

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